GSA OFFICIALLY OPEN NEW ENVIRONMENTAL SATELLITE CENTER
June 11, 2007 — The new home for NOAA's around-the-clock, environmental satellite operations, which provides data critical for weather and climate prediction, was officially opened today at a ribbon-cutting ceremony in Suitland, Md. Top leaders from NOAA, the U.S. General Services Administration and several U.S. Congressional representatives from Maryland, said the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility (NSOF) signifies America's solid commitment to providing the best possible environmental satellite services. (Click NOAA image for larger view of NOAA image of the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new NOAA Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Md. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.”)
"The NOAA Satellite Operations Facility is a first-class center, with first-class technology and operations that supply essential satellite data to forecasters in order to produce the most accurate projections possible. Such a facility has a significant role in, for example, predicting where hurricanes will form, and when and where they will strike," said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph.D., undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.
Tropical regions of the Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and East Pacific, are continuously monitored by NOAA's geostationary (GOES) weather satellites and the resulting satellite imagery are utilized by National Hurricane Center forecasters and are available to the media and the public. Hundreds of images are taken of a given storm. (Click NOAA image for larger view of NOAA image of new NOAA Satellite Operations Facility in Suitland, Md. Click here for high resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.”)
NSOF processes more than 16 billion bytes of environmental satellite
data from NOAA's geostationary and polar-orbiting
spacecraft, and the Department of Defense's Meteorological Satellite
Program (DMSP). The NOAA National
Weather Service uses these data for constant tracking of severe
weather, and as inputs into models for medium to long range forecasts
for weather and tracking climate change. NSOF, which spans 208,271 gross
square feet, supports more than $50 million of high technology equipment,
including 16 antennas that control more than $4.7 billion worth of environmental
NSOF, situated on the Suitland Federal Center campus, was designed by the firm Morphosis/Einhorn Yaffee Prescott Architecture & Engineering, P.C., and has already received several awards, including the GSA Design Award for 2002. Thom Mayne, head of Morphosis, received the industry's coveted Pritzker Architecture Prize for NSOF's design. A key design feature of NSOF, which is mostly located underground, is the grass roof, covering 146,000 square feet.
At a total
cost of $81 million, including both NOAA and GSA funding, NSOF houses
549 employees consisting of personnel from NOAA, Department of Defense,
U.S. Coast Guard, NASA and government contractors. Operations based
at NSOF include: NOAA's Satellite Operations Control Center, which provides
command, control and communications for NOAA's satellites and DMSP;
a computer center that processes the satellite data; the U.S. Mission
Control Center for the Search and Rescue Satellite-Aided Tracking program,
called COSPAS-SARSAT, and
the National Ice Center, operated
by NOAA, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Coast Guard.
the NOAA Satellite Operations Facility, NOAA will continue as a leader
in satellite operations that provide real benefits to each American,"
said Mary E. Kizca, assistant administrator for the NOAA
Satellite and Information Service. (Click NOAA image for
larger view of NOAA image of new NOAA Satellite Operations Facility
in Suitland, Md. Click here for high
resolution version. Please credit “NOAA.”)
NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners and nearly 60 countries to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes.